13 Sep

>Lonesome Texas Doves with Breaking and Entering and Meat

Steven K. Ledin,

>When we landed in our section of Texas it didn’t really seem like “Texas”. Not too many cowboy boots or hats or Skoal ads, just a lot of sprawling suburban anywhere buildings and malls dotted with Starbucks. It sure was a pleasure, though, to notice countless pickups with American name badges on them. Very few imports. God bless America. We had morning meetings, and then a lunch at a Mexican restaurant. A waitress made the guacamole fresh at our table, which I haven’t seen before. I was told that the wooden or sometimes stone bowls that the person uses to combine the avocados and other ingredients per your specifications are passed down through generations. I suppose they get kind of seasoned like a cast iron skillet. The guacamole was delicious with just-made tortilla chips and Coronas.

After lunch we drove to another vendor and had an exciting and productive meeting.

Dinner that night consisted of giant heaping tables of communal meats; spicy, hearty, and piled high. Lots of libations to cool the heat. Heated discussions of business and pleasure took turns. Hunting war stories took top honors, especially since the next day was a scheduled dove hunt we were all fervently anticipating.

The morning broke clear and warm. Lucky, since the forecast was dicey. The day before we got there there were 8 tornadoes downtown and in the surrounding areas. Compatriots Mark and Yuri participated in their first dove hunt, and we all had high expectations. Our 5.11 Tactical Trainer boots were perfect for the application. We dosed them and our pants legs liberally with bug dope to prevent chiggers, which were expected to be bad.

A variety of guns were used by the bunch of us, including a Benelli Super Black Eagle, a couple of Novas, an 11-87, an 1100 12 gauge and 20 gauge, a Browning BPS, and even a couple of old Remington Sportsman 58s. One of the Sportsman 58s was mechanically locked up, so I took out the trigger assembly and when I reinstalled it, it worked. I used the palm of my hand to bash in a stubborn trigger assembly pin and damaged my hand for the rest of the trip. I’ve done this same dumb operation dozens of times and always hurt myself. What a boob. Loads were 3 dram 1 1/8 ounce of #8s.

We were in the field and ready, and our Mojo doves were set up pretty well. They’re able to be spotted from hundreds of yards away. Area looked good. Sunflowers, wheat, milo, grit, and water. Problem was, no doves. One guy shot one dove all morning. Then we went back to the hotel for lunch and a nap before the evening hunt. I had rocky mountain oysters for the first time. Not bad, kind of like chicken gizzards. My country meatloaf and beers tasted good, made a bit better by the wait staff, who almost dressed for the occasion. Kind of like a Hooters for the whole family.

The evening hunt started off promising. Driving into a field we busted a hundred doves, but the land wasn’t ours. None of them flew onto our land. I shot one while walking down a fence lined with hedge apples. Yuri slayed a lot of hedge apples. They make shotgun shells every day. He tried to do his part to keep the ammunition manufacturers in business.

We used some Howard Leight Genesis clear safety glasses when the sun wasn’t too bright, and some Pyramex Rendezvous Ducks Unlimited grey glasses when we needed to. Mark used his Zeiss Classic 8×22 pocket binoculars, and I used my superb Swarovski 8×20 pockets that have travelled many thousands of miles with me over the years. Boonie caps and BDUs were from Propper. Our Surefire Sonic Defenders worked well, as did our Icon Rogue flashlights.

Dinner that night included liberal ingestation of Patron Silver, followed by breaking and entering into the hotel pool that hotel management thought should be closed. A bunch of sweaty dove hunters in their underwear dove into the water, and heated discussions and more hunting war stories followed. Nobody died, as far as we know, but there were a couple of missing people the next morning.

All told, a great business trip and a lot of fun dove hunting in a great state with some great business associates!

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